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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

Top 10 Cartagena, Colombia Things to Do

Cartagena, Colombia captured my attention 10+ years ago when I first moved to Atlanta, GA. When I worked in Oil & Gas as a Chief Audit Executive, I saw pictures of Cartagena from the Sales Vice President who visited Cartagena for a sales conference. I immediately knew and said I would visit.

In 2022, my visit to Cartagena, Colombia is a reality.

I am not surprised that Cartagena is one of the most visited cities in the Americas for tourists, digital nomads, and lifestyle entrepreneurs.

Cartagena, Colombia Top Things to Do
Cartagena, Colombia Top 10 Things to Do

Cartagena located in Colombia's Caribbean coast is known for its Walled City, Getsemani picturesque neighborhood, and colorful history dating back to 4,000 BC.

Cartagena is one of those cities where you may experience with all your senses within small distances. As you walk the streets of the Old City, you will catch glimpses of the culture of Palenqueras - Afro-Colombian women in bright dresses selling fruit in Cartagena’s plazas.

No matter whether you wander through the Walled City or Getsemani, it is an absolute photographer's and Instagrammer's dream with the vibrant colors and colonial architecture. As you wander past the Walled City, you will see the juxtaposition between the old and new.

Don't forget to add in a beach day or two with nearby Rosario Islands (or maybe even stay at a private island!)

Taking in sunsets from the rooftops, castles, and nearby beaches with breathtaking views is a must in Cartagena.

Sophia Hotel Cartagena Photo Credit Maria with Cartagena Photo Walk
Sophia Hotel Cartagena Photo Credit Maria with Cartagena Photo Walk

Whether you will spend one day in Cartagena, or a week like I did, you will love it.

It's not easy to narrow down Cartagena, Colombia to a Top 10 Things to Do, but here goes!

My Cartagena, Colombia Things to Do includes:

  • Visiting Walled City

  • Strolling through Getsemani

  • Marveling at the beautiful churches

  • Soaking in the sunset on rooftops

  • Taking a day trip to Rosario Islands

  • Learning about history at Museo Naval

  • Walking on the grounds of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

  • Doing a photoshoot walk in the Old City

  • Walking across the bridge and along the water to Manga or Bocagrande

  • Enjoying foodie favorites like fresh juices, coconut treats, seafood, and cafes

Getsemani Linda Maria Cafe

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia will capture your spirit, soul, mind and body with its history, culture, beauty, and experiences.

Cartagena, Colombia Highlights

  • Lies in the Northern Caribbean part of Colombia

  • Famous for its Old City, Getsemani, and Rosario Islands

  • Highly Walkable city between Old City and Getsemani - 1-3km

  • Archaeologists believe humans lived in the region around 4,000 BC - Puerto Hormiga culture

  • City of Cartagena de Indias, named after the Spanish city Cartagena, founded on June 1, 1533

  • Discovery of riches in Sinu tribe tombs helped the city flourish after a fire in 1552

  • 16th Century - Wall and Fortress is built for Cartagena's protection

  • 17th Century - King of Spain ordered Cartagena to become a slave trade center

  • UNESCO-recognized village San Basilio Palenqueras are the first freed slaves in the Americas.

  • Cartagena is in the middle of the British and Spanish War leading to be highly protected

  • In 1811, Cartagena is the first city to declare independence twice - ultimately succeeding.

  • Boasts triple tourism rates from 1 million foreign visitors per year in 2006 to 2 million in 2019

Umbrella Street in Getsemani

All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 13 or via Airbnb.

Travel to Cartagena, Colombia

Travel to Cartagena is easy whether you are traveling internationally or from within Colombia, or South America. Rafael Nunez International Airport offers flights with Delta, American, Copa. Spirit, Jet Blue, VivaAir, Wingo, and more.

I flew from Medellin on Viva for $50 USD. Since my flight was within Colombia, all I needed to show was my Passport and Vaccination Card. For international flights to Colombia and from Colombia, a Mig Form Registration Online is required for COVID currently.

Where I Stayed in Cartagena, Colombia

The first Airbnb i booked was in Manga, about 1-2 km walking from the Walled City. When I booked at La Vie en Rose, I thought I would stay in Cartagena for 5 days. It is easy to walk from Manga across the bridge right to Getsemani, and a little further to the Walled City.

However, both because of all the city has to offer and with flight logistics to fly to Bocos del Toros for a press trip in Panama and brand project, plans changed. By the time I realized with the flights to Panama, the room at La Vie en Rose was already booked. So, I moved to the Old City for my last two nights.